Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yankees on Cliff Lee rejection: There must be a pony in here somewhere!

There is no way to spin Cliff Lee rejecting the Yankees to sign with the Phillies for less money as anything short of a debacle. But some sources in the Yankees' front office are trying to find a pony in here somewhere.

In an attempt to spinning this rejection as no big deal, here's what two anonymous sources in Yankeeland told ESPN's Wally Matthews:

But it was clear in talking to Yankees insiders that the organization was neither surprised nor particularly disturbed by Lee's choice. In fact, there was a sense of relief that Lee was out of the American League and, with the Yankees and Phillies not scheduled to play during the regular season, could not torment them again until the World Series.

"Maybe this is all for the better," one of the sources said. "Do you really want to give a seven-year deal to a guy who doesn't want to be here?".... 

Whoop-de-do. Is that all you got? Puh-lease.

First of all, if I could figure out in October that the Yankees' chances of signing Lee were slim, then why couldn't the brainiacs in their front office?  Contrary to them claiming now they weren't surprised by this, the fact remains that they put all their eggs in the Cliff Lee basket, now the eggs look like a steamroller ran the basket over, and they're acting like it just gives them more material for omelets? Leggo my eggo!

Second, what is the Plan B here? It could have been signing Carl Crawford and trading a current outfielder for a pitcher, but that ship has sailed. Who's going to be starting for the Yankees -- Sergio Mitre? Carl Pavano?
And both used the same word -- "celebrate" -- to describe the rarity of an athlete opting for less money in favor of playing for a particular team.

"Obviously he wasn't all about the money, which is refreshing," said one of the sources. "He left a lot of it on the table."

"I think we should celebrate the fact that a guy took less money to go to a place he loves," the other said. "I honestly don't think he or his wife were afraid of New York, just that they enjoyed their experience in Philadelphia to such an extent that they would rather go there for a lot less money."

There must be a pony in here somewhere! Hey, let's "celebrate" Cliff Lee taking less money to go to the Phillies. Break out the champagne! Wheeeeeee!!

Are you kidding me? This attempt at damage control is pathetic.

And nobody said that Cliff and Kristen Lee "were afraid of New York;" instead, they were reportedly ticked off at the unruly fans. Big difference.

Besides, what is "refreshing" from the Yankee perspective about Lee taking less money to play elsewhere? That he hates the Yankees so much, not even the lure of filthy lucre couldn't convince him to come to the Bronx? And they're acting like this is a good thing?

Squawker Jon says that Yankees "refreshing" comment is one of the most hypocritical things he has ever heard. I can't disagree.

The reality is that unless Brian Cashman has some secret rabbit he's going to pull out of  his elf hat, the Yankees have completely wasted the offseason so far on the Lee pursuit. And no matter how much the Yanks try to spin, spin, spin, there is no pony in here anywhere!

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Mark the Spark said...

No one player is going to make or break the Yankees. They have not in the past, nor will they in the future, get every player they want. Everyone needs to calm down, take a deep breath, and come in off the ledge.

Anonymous said...

There's no "pony" here, just a bunch of horses asses! The Yanker brain trust (now there's an oxymoron for you) was firmly rejected, with all of their millions of dollars tossed back in their faces - I LOVE IT!

It just goes to show you there are actually some decent people in this world for whom there are higher values, more than just money. More ball players should be looking beyond the money when deciding where to play.

Maybe Cliff Lee thought he had a better chance to win a WS ring in Philly than in Yankerville? It's quite possible.

Now don't worry Yanker fans, the Yanker front office will buy some other players. After all, they low-balled your "captain" so they have some money to spend. And when they run out, they'll just go to the basement and fire up the printing presses and print some more money. There is never a shortage of money in Yankerville.

Congratulations Cliff Lee, for making a great decision! Here's hoping you win a bunch of rings in Philly!

btw, how's this for an intriguing WS matchup - Phillies vs. Red Sox?

Uncle Mike said...

I fail to see how not getting Cliff Lee is a minus for the Yankees. In case people haven't noticed... he's a somewhat better than average pitcher who's had 2 great seasons and pitched pretty well against the Yankees in the postseason.

Maybe we can call him the Kinda Big Unit. Because Randy Johnson really was what people now think Lee is, and he was a disaster for the Yankees. Take his postseason pitching both for and against the Yankees, and he may have hurt the team more than any player in history.

Cliff Lee going to the Phillies is a plus for the Yankees: They don't waste a lot of money on a guy who would be their 3rd-best starter -- maybe their 2nd if Andy Pettitte retires -- and he leaves the American League, not staying with the Rangers or going to the Red Sox or any other potential Playoff opponent, meaning they don't have to face him in big games unless it's in the World Series. And the Phillies are hardly a lock for another Pennant: They're probably still the best team in the National League, but they were that this season, too, and they didn't win the Pennant.

This is not a minus, it's a plus. Pony? We don't need no stinkin' pony.

Oh, and, Steve: A bunch of rings? When Lee wins his next ring, it will be his first. He's got fewer rings than Alex Rodriguez.

Dale Sams said...

"They don't waste a lot of money on a guy who would be their 3rd-best starter"

bahahha...2010 WAR leaders.

1. Cliff Lee
13. CC Sabathia
63. Phil Hughes

guess who was 62? Ian Kennedy.

Lisa Swan said...

Mike says, "I fail to see how not getting Cliff Lee is a minus for the Yankees."

Huh? I never saw you say before today that you didn't want Cliff Lee.

And since when would Lee be the Yankees' No. 3 starter?

Lisa Swan said...

Mark, I just don't get why the Yankees can't admit this was a disappointment, instead of this childish spin control.

And I hate to say it, but Dale the Sox fan has a good point about Ian Kennedy. Oy.

Steve, welcome back! I was wondering when we'd hear from you again!

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

Actually, I'm relieved that they didn't get Cliff Lee. A finesse pitcher doesn't age good unless he is Jaime Moyer and pitches in the AAAA (previously known as the NL). That is why Kennedy performs great in Arizona.

Now I hope the Yankees don't do any foolish thing and use the young guns and Montero. Joba back to the starter rotation!

Oh and the Red Sox wasted their money on Liverpool, Crawford (speedsters don't age well either) & A-Gon comes from the AAAA.

Uncle Mike said...

"Huh? I never saw you say before today that you didn't want Cliff Lee."

Shameless plug alert: I guess you didn't read my installment of Uncle Mike's Musings on Sunday, titled "Cliff Lee Is Stupid and the Yankees Shouldn't Sign Him."

"And since when would Lee be the Yankees' No. 3 starter?" Since the rumor seemed to be strengthening that Andy Pettitte would retire, moving Lee up behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes -- assuming, of course, that A.J. Burnett doesn't bounce back. If he does, then Lee would be, at best, the No. 4.

Alvaro is right: NL finesse pitchers don't do well with the Yankees. There's a reason the Yankees didn't sign Tom Glavine. (There's also a reason the Mets did, but that's a whole other ball of wax.)

Losing Lee is no disappointment. Through his not-worth-it-ness and his wife, he would have been so disruptive an influence as to make A-Rod look like Mr. Rogers.

The Emperor said...

What?? We didn't get Lee??

Must be A-Rod's fault!

Actually, I'm relieved that we didn't sign him. I mean, don't get me wrong - it would've been terrific to have him if the contract was reasonable - say 4 years at $80 Mil?

I just had a feeling all along that Lee didn't want to be a Yankee. If he did he would've jumped all over the offer that was made to him. I didn't want the Yankees to have to offer him some stupid insane deal to "force" him to sign with us - like a 10-year $200 Mil contract.

If that's what it would've taken to sign him, it would only mean that his heart was never in it to begin with and like uncle Mike said it would be like getting Randy Johnson again and for all the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

Mikey, that's right I said a bunch of rings. Cliff Lee's next ring will be his first, I think just about everyone knows that, duhhhhh. What's the matter with you, don't you read good (ha ha)?

Oh, I know, the Yankers didn't buy number 28 this year, so all you can do is make shameless comparisons to A-roid and the rest of your juicers. Go ahead, if that's what helps you sleep at night.

I just hope he wins more than one, it's good for him, good for Philly, and good for baseball.

Uncle Mike said...

That's right, the Yankees didn't buy Number 28. And the Cardinals didn't buy Number 11. The Red Sox didn't buy (or juice their way to) Number 8. The Reds, Dodgers and Pirates didn't buy Number 6. The Tigers and A's didn't buy Number 5. The Orioles didn't buy Number 4. The White Sox didn't buy Number 4. The Cubs, Indians, Marlins, Twins, Phillies, Blue Jays and, oh yeah, METS didn't buy Number 3. The Angels, Diamondbacks, Braves, Royals didn't buy Number 2. And the Rockies, Astros, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rays, Rangers and Nationals didn't buy Number 1. The Giants did buy Number 1.

The Yankees did try, as did the Phillies, as did the Red Sox, for which the (fill in your insult of choice)s deserve some respect, because that's more than most teams have done.

It's a takeoff on the line from "The American President": Yes, these teams ARE trying to buy a championship. The question is, why isn't YOUR team, Bob? If you're not trying to by a championship, then you're buying failure -- on purpose. And that sort of thing gets players and managers banned for life. It gets owners... the praise of their fellow owners.

Lisa Swan said...

Who's Bob?

Anonymous said...

Ok Mikey, so what you're saying, in paraphrasing the line from the movie, is that if you don't try to buy the trophy, then you look like a schmuck in front of the other owners? Is that right? Have the Yankers really degraded the game of baseball to that level? Or is your brain just that degraded?

Whatever happened to earning/winning your trophy the old-fashioned way? Apparently old King George found that to be too difficult to deal with (see the 1980s for your evidence) so he decided that "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em". And the great Yanker legacy of spending and buying continued.

The Giants did not buy anything this year, they earned/won their championship the old-fashioned way. Their payroll was the 9th highest, not THE highest by a wide margin. They did not have All-stars 3-deep at every position. They just got hot at the right time. And Barry Bonds was nowhere to be seen, so you can't say anything about juicing.

And the last time I looked, NO team has ever bought a championship, except for one certain team from the Bronx, who have bought 27 too many. It started with the purchase of Babe Ruth and has continued to this day.

I put the blame for that squarely on Bud's shoulders. He should be enforcing parity, payroll equality, and true sportsmanship. It has made the NFL wildly popular, I think it could work for baseball too.

Uncle Mike said...

Lisa: In the movie I cited, Bob was Richard Dreyfus' character, running for President against incumbent Michael Douglas. He played an even scarier Republican as Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone's "W."

"If you don't try to buy the trophy, then you look like a schmuck in front of the other owners? Is that right?" No, if you don't try to buy the trophy, then you look like a loser in front of everybody.

"Whatever happened to earning/winning your trophy the old-fashioned way?" This IS the old-fashioned way. Has been ever since the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Or do you want baseball to go back to being all-amateur? It would fit with the amateurishness of your arguments.

"The Giants did not buy anything this year... " Yes, they did. They paid their players. Yes, it really is that simple. Did they go with a roster of minimum-salary players? No, because that would have rendered them competitively impotent. (First guy to make a Rafael Palmeiro joke gets plunked.) You said it yourself: Their payroll was 9th-highest, which should have been enough to get them within range of the postseason, and it did. They tried to put themselves into position to win, and it worked. The Giants DID do it the right way -- but it was the way I'd like it to be, not the way you'd like it to be.

Uncle Mike said...

"And the last time I looked, NO team has ever bought a championship, except for one certain team from the Bronx." The Red Sox have outspent every team but the Yankees the last few years, and, whether you think their titles were legit or not, they bought 2. As opposed to their Tom Yawkey years, when they spent 43 years trying to buy a title, and failed every single time. Get a chance, and look up what Yawkey spent just in his first couple of years to get Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin and Wes Ferrell -- and it didn't work.

"I put the blame for that squarely on Bud's shoulders. He should be enforcing parity, payroll equality, and true sportsmanship. It has made the NFL wildly popular... " No, gambling and television made the NFL wildly popular (only a gambler would like it if his team loses by less than the point spread), and in case you didn't notice, it is the least sportsmanlike of the 4 major North American sports.

It is not the job of the commissioner of a sport to enforce league-wide mediocrity (for that is what parity is), but to enforce the rules so that talent and brains win out without cheating getting in the way. And since the most blatant cheating in sports the last few years was in the NFL (the still-unrepentant New England Patriots), there goes that part of your argument.

But if your dream is a baseball league where all 30 teams finish 81-81, then go out and form your own. See how many players spurn MLB and join your minimum-wage league that celebrates mediocrity. If anybody meets, meets, steps right up and greets its teams, and brings their kiddies and brings their wife, I'll guarantee they won't have the time of their life.

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